We the people of the United States of America were treated to a small glimmer of hope fairly recently. The White House decided to start taking petitions online. This meant that our voices would actually be heard much easier than before. All one would have to do is create a petition and get enough signatures, and said petition would be considered for review.
Sounds great, right? Well, as many of us were expecting (as skeptics), this addition to the White House website would be little more than a waste of time.
Deep within the bowels of atheist web forums such as Reddit, a couple petitions were spawned and quickly met the minimum required number of signatures.
Both of these petitions addressed secular issues. One, a request to remove the unnecessary "under God" from the pledge of allegiance. The other petition was a motion to remove "In God we trust" from our currency.
Who cares? Why is this important?
It's important because our country is comprised of more than just religious people. In fact, 15% of Americans identify themselves as not being religious. Simply not being religious is not the opposition of religion, it's merely the neutral position. According to the First Amendment (and Treaty of Tripoli in regards to Christianity), the government isn't supposed to make any law respecting an establishment of religion. Thus, to include references to such an ambiguous and generic "God" goes overboard, by considering all and any gods that anyone could think of. Yet, there would be no consideration for those who don't subscribe to any of such myths.
This is why, when thousands of people received their canned response from the White House, saying that the president supports the mention of God in our pledge and on our currency, they were thoroughly disappointed. What's worse, is that nobody seems to have an answer for what to do when a petition fails, even when it's had enough signatures to be heard.
Let's not forget that the mention of God in our pledge didn't come about until 1954. It took 6 years of theists pressuring the White House to have it added. Unfortunately, it's already taken much longer, and may take many years to come to remove it. My only suggestion is to keep trying.
I signed both petitions. I was one of many Americans to receive the letter you see below, twice. Both letters were essentially the same for each petition. They may want to consider removing the top right letterhead in future correspondence.
On a side note, according to the constitutions of the Carolinas, Massachusetts, Texas, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, you have to believe in some form of deity to hold a position as an elected official. Perhaps I shall run for governor in Maryland and declare the Flying Spaghetti Monster as my higher power.